Royal Antwerp midfielder Arthur Vermeeren is aware of interest from Spanish giants Barcelona, according to reports.
Vermeeren is just 18 years old, but he has attracted the attention of Blaugrana boss Xavi, who is set to keep a keen eye on the teenager when Antwerp face Barcelona in this season’s Champions League.
The two clubs have both been drawn in Group H, where they will also face FC Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Antwerp beat AEK Athens during Champions League qualifying to seal their place in the group stages.
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Vermeeren will be eager to impress during their games against Barca, with the Spanish side making their interest known to the 18-year-old. According to Sport, Barcelona view Vermeeren as a future star, but don’t want to rush into signing him too early.
As a result, they will wait before making an informed decision on the midfielder. Barca had previously held an interest in Liverpool Montevideo starlet Fabricio Diaz and Portugal international Ruben Neves.
Diaz is now on the verge of joining Al-Gharafa in Qatar, while Neves has signed for Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal. Fabrizio Romano has reported that Mateu Alemany’s departure as sporting director at Camp Nou was the reason for Barcelona’s failure to sign Diaz, despite heavy interest.
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Vermeeren to join Barcelona?
The report from Sport details that Barcelona have been impressed by Vermeeren positional awareness and ball distribution, despite his young age.
The teenager, who made one cap for Belgium’s U21 side, has already played 43 times for Royal Antwerp’s senior team, scoring once and providing four assists during that time.
Vermeeren currently has an Expected Transfer Value (xTV) of €12.7 million, which has increased from just €400k at the start of 2023.
Barcelona have the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Frenkie de Jong, Oriol Romeu and young Spanish duo Pedri and Gavi in their midfield crop, meaning Vermeeren would face serious competition if he joined the Blaugrana.